In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, October 12

Lobster are heating up in New England. Photo Credit: Zachary Whalen/Flickr.

  • U.S. District Court Judge Young issued a memorandum this week requiring that Carlos Rafael forfeit four fishing vessels and the associated 34 groundfish permits that were used in connection to falsifying fish quotas, cash smuggling, and tax evasion. The assets are worth approximately $2.26 million. Judge Young sentenced Rafael to prison last month for his crimes, but took more time to decide on the forfeiture issue. The federal government will now decide what to do with the vessels and permits.
  • The New York Times recently featured a story of a Maine lobstermen trying his hand at farming oysters. Aquaculture is a growing industry in Maine; the number of licenses for small farms has doubled in less than two years. Some lobstermen remain skeptical but others see farming as a way to diversify income. Read more here.
  • A bill designed to alter the 1906 Antiquities Act was advanced by the House Natural Resources Committee (23-17 vote). The National Monument Creation and Protection Act, authored by Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, would limit the president’s power to designate national monuments. Many Republicans believe that former President Obama overused his executive power to create monuments, but many Democrats would disagree. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona said, “The Antiquities Act allows a president who values natural and cultural resources to protect them for future generations, at least until Congress can come along and provide legislative solutions. Rather than consider those legislative solutions, the majority seeks to destroy the Antiquities Act itself…”
  • Internal memos released as part of a lawsuit revealed that the Department of Commerce extended the Gulf of Mexico red snapper recreational fishing season, even though officials knew that it would lead to overfishing. A memo to Commerce Secretary Ross said, “It would result in overfishing of the stock by six million pounds (40%), which will draw criticism from environmental groups and commercial fishermen.” Environmental groups have sued, saying that the Department of Commerce violated the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
  • It’s been a hard year for Maine lobstermen with both statewide landings and prices down for the first time since 2001. Industry officials predict that harvest may hit its lowest value in a decade and landings could be 30 million pounds less than in 2016. Scientist are not sure why harvest is low.

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